Due in large part to the HITECH Act and the meaningful use incentive program, the IT efforts of healthcare providers have been dominated by electronic medical records (EMR) initiatives for the better part of the past decade.
Most of the focus over this time has been placed on simply implementing the technology and getting clinicians to embrace it. Now that more than 95 percent of hospitals in the U.S. are currently using EMRs, it seems the focus is beginning to shift. However, the move isn’t away from EMRs to some other groundbreaking technology. Instead, the focus is transferring from simply implementing EMRs to optimizing the software in order to squeeze more value out of it.
You see, most healthcare providers aren’t very happy with the ROI they are currently getting from their multimillion-dollar EMR investments. In fact, a recent survey of 1,100 healthcare professionals by Health Catalyst reveals only 10 percent believe they are getting a positive or superb return from their EMRs. The remainder describe the ROI as terrible, poor or mediocre.
As a result, healthcare providers are turning their attention to enhancing their existing EMR systems. According to a recent Black Book Market Research survey, 61 percent of healthcare respondents say technology optimization is the highest priority IT engagement for their organizations by the end of 2020. Not surprisingly, EMR software and revenue cycle management systems are the primary targets of these optimization efforts.
Improving the ROI of an EMR requires an investment in critical strategies and technologies to enhance the software’s overall capabilities and performance. The following are a few steps you can take to get more value out of this core clinical platform.
1. Standardize documentation – If your paper-based documentation processes were disorganized and based on individual clinician preferences, then simply digitizing these efforts will result in limited efficiency gains. To maximize digital workflows, documentation processes should be standardized across the enterprise. Work with your clinicians to gain consensus on how patient encounters should be documented and ensure these new processes are adhered to.
2. Streamline documentation – It was initially believed that EMRs would reduce the documentation requirements on physicians. Unfortunately, largely because of industry regulations, the technology has actually increased this burden. Where possible, healthcare providers should aim to reduce the data entry requirements EMRs place on their physicians and allow them to focus on care.
3. Address usability and access – Optimizing your EMR means making it a true single source for all patient data. That means ensuring all patient information – not just discrete health data, but unstructured documents and Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) and non-DICOM medical images – are accessible from the EMR platform. Focus on making patient data easy to find and use from within the EMR, and reduce instances where physicians need to search for the data they need to make the most informed clinical decisions possible.
4. Address interoperability – Your EMR shouldn’t just be another silo within your enterprise. It should be as open as possible to ensure interoperability with other systems and healthcare stakeholders. Work with your EMR vendor and invest in complementary technologies that make it easier to exchange and share patient information with partners to facilitate collaboration and ensure continuity of care. This can have a dramatic impact on healthcare outcomes and the overall patient experience. Also, making patient data “liquid” is a key step to reducing duplicate testing and providing safe, effective care.
5. Add decision support and data analytics – Coupling decision support tools with your EMR can ensure your clinicians have the right information at the right time to make appropriate medical decisions, ideally when they’re still in front of the patient. Data analytics can help you use the data stored in your EMR to identify patterns and trends that you can use to make population health improvements.
Hyland will be showcasing several solutions at the HIMSS19 Global Conference & Exhibition that can help enhance your current EMR. These solutions include making clinical documents, DICOM studies, point-of-care images, video, and more accessible to clinicians via the EMR interface – increasing adoption of this core clinical platform by making it a more valuable tool in the delivery of care. Schedule an appointment with us at HIMSS19 or visit us at booth 2759 to learn more.
Sponsored content. The views and opinions expressed in this blog or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.
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